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Shopping in South Africa
Shoping destinations in South Africa range from a collective mass of street traders selling almost everything imaginable, up to upmarket stores and trendy boutiques. American style shopping malls are also becoming increasingly common, with a wide variety of shops all under one big roof. Unique items you may wish to purchase here include a multitude of jewellery, crafted from the finest South African gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones, leather and suede items, local crafts, ceramics, and also South African wine, brandy and liqueurs, which are excellent value and normally quite high quality.
Shopping centres are far more common than shopping streets, the Gateway Mall in Durban is reputedly the largest in the southern hemisphere. However, areas where shops and restaurants spill out onto the streets are proving hugely popular, and are steadily becoming more common. Traditional African arts and crafts are sold in numerous craft markets, including Cape Town's V&A Waterfront craft shed and Johannesburg's Rosebank Mall craft market.
Impromptu craft stalls often appear at the side of the road, particularly on popular tourist routes, and some have become permanent attractions in their own right, such as the one between Johannesburg and Sun City.
Fashion and Clothing
European trends tend to be the most common with regards to the high-fashion designs of clothing and fashion. However, some may come with a unique African touch, and these can be quite appealing for foreign visitors. Safari clothing and sportswear are also a good buy whilst in South Africa. Normally high-quality and reasonably priced, you will find that you have a multitude of choices, in both price and style.
With all the gold, platinum and diamonds being mined in South Africa, it'd be abit of a shame to not at least have a look at some of the jewellery on offer. Of even more interest, perhaps, would be getting a piece designed to your tastes and specifications. The Premier Diamond Mine, near Pretoria, allows you to sit back and view the mine where your precious stone was mined, while a designer sketches some ideas for you.
Markets are a feature of basically every town, with the larger city markets selling everything from clothing, crafts, jewellery, collectables and various deli foods, all at very attractive prices. The smaller local markets are a great way to get a unique insight into the comings and goings of life in a small South African town, and as such, can be quite an interesting experience.
Shopping Malls
Shopping centres are everywhere. Some are so huge they'll give you a good day's hike from one end to the other. In Johannesburg there's Eastgate and the newly enlarged Cresta, among others, and in Umhlanga, just outside Durban, there's the mammoth Gateway Shopping Centre, which offers 150 000 square metres of shopping - that's over 37 acres.
Cape Town's Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, with over 400 stores, caters to all shopping needs in a huge range to suit any budget or taste. Other more exclusive centres are Johannesburg's Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square and Hyde Park.
Shopping in Cape Town
A great variety of jewellery is being made in Cape Town. Many talented goldsmiths and jewellery designers live in the Cape, and their creations cost comparatively little. Textiles are also priceworthy especially leather, sports and outdoor wear. The same applies to antiques, books and wine.
There are so many shops to explore in Cape Town that you'd find it impossible to get through them all in one trip. This place rivals many top European cities for fashion, South African artists and products are proudly featured in lifestyle and home shops, and you can find curios from all over Africa. There are shopping malls, indoor and outdoor markets, boutique shops and quaint shopping areas.
The most impressive shopping Mecca of Cape Town is the Canal Walk, a part of the Century City complex on the N1 Freeway near Milnerton (Exit 10). The shopping temple with its borrowed architectural style elements from the Orient and the Rennaissance, houses more than 400 shops plus restaurants, fast-food outlets and cinemas. Outside, a system of canals has been built that's nostalgic of Venice. One can buy clothing, toys, decorative household goods, books and jewellery here.
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